Signup for a folk alley account


A Q & A with Molly Tuttle

July 7, 2017

by Kelly McCartney (@theKELword) for Folk Alley

molly tuttle.jpg .jpgAsk pretty much anyone over, say, 35 to name the best pickers in roots music and their list would likely include the standards: Bryan Sutton, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, et al. But, if you asked someone in the younger set, that list might very well include Sarah Jarosz, Sierra Hull, and Molly Tuttle. With her new EP, Rise, Tuttle aims to secure her place on the list, while also showcasing her talents as a singer and a songwriter.

Kelly McCartney: You made some big geographic moves over the past few years. How did the different landscapes and communities inform your creative expression on this record?

Molly Tuttle: Growing up in California, I was very immersed in the bluegrass scene out there. My dad teaches music and, through him, I met a lot of local Bay Area musicians and started going to shows and festivals in the area. It was a wonderful community to grow up in because everyone was very supportive. I fell in love with jamming and performing with friends who played bluegrass and that is how I started down the path of wanting to pursue music as a career.

When I moved to Boston to study music at Berklee, I became interested in music theory for the first time and was also exposed to many different styles of music that I previously hadn't listened to or studied. A lot of my guitar teachers came from jazz and blues backgrounds so I was exposed to different ways of thinking about music and different ways of approaching improvisation which was really great. Now, living in Nashville, I am completely inspired by the incredible musicianship and creativity that thrives here. It has been a huge learning experience to try co-writing with more experienced writers around town.

From Hazel Dickens to Bob Dylan, how do you hear your different influences coming through your work?

Hazel was one of the first people I listened to who inspired me to try and find a unique voice and try writing my own songs from my own life experiences. In her writing and singing, you can tell that everything comes straight from her heart and that really spoke to me. She has her own way of singing and writing that doesn't really fit in any box -- it is totally her own.

When I listened to Bob Dylan for the first time, I immediately was blown away by his lyrics and how he seemed to break conventional songwriting "rules." He really inspired me, as a writer, to be a little more free with song form and lyrical content. Joni Mitchell was another big hero of mine who I got into in college. I feel influenced by her creative guitar voicings -- she is one of my favorite guitarists. Dave Rawlings is another big guitar hero of mine who taught me that is okay to break "rules" with what notes and intervals you play.

Even though you're very clear about expanding your musical horizons, are you expecting or have you experienced any pushback from the "that ain't bluegrass" crowd? If so, how do you handle that tactfully?

I have experienced a little push back, but not as much as I might have thought I would when I first started writing my own songs and breaking away from the traditional bluegrass sound. I think the shift for me has happened gradually, and I am lucky to have amazing and loyal fans who support the direction that I am heading in.

You've been making music for more than half your life now, sometimes alongside legends. How do you balance confidence, nervousness, and humility in those situations?

Over time, my confidence in myself and as an artist has grown. I used to be very self-conscious when playing and performing, especially around musicians that I admired. Experience and time has taught me that it's okay to make mistakes and that I have something valuable to offer with my music. It has taken me a while to find a balance between being confident in my abilities in any situation, and also recognizing how much I have to learn from others.

In a perfect world, what would you want people to take away from your music?

I think that music can make people feel a sense of connection, hope, and joy. I hope that my music can bring comfort and happiness to others!

###

Molly Tuttle's EP, 'Rise' is available now via iTunes and Amazon.com

Upcoming tour dates

Posted by Linda Fahey at July 7, 2017 4:00 PM


Support Folk Alley During Our Spring Fund Drive!

 

Recent Topics

 

 

November 2017
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
         1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30      


November 2017


October 2017


September 2017


August 2017


July 2017


May 2017


April 2017


March 2017


February 2017


January 2017


December 2016


November 2016


October 2016


September 2016


August 2016


July 2016


May 2016


April 2016


March 2016


February 2016


January 2016


December 2015


November 2015


October 2015


September 2015


August 2015


July 2015


June 2015


May 2015


April 2015


March 2015


February 2015


January 2015


December 2014


October 2014


September 2014


August 2014


July 2014


June 2014


April 2014


March 2014


February 2014


January 2014


December 2013


November 2013


October 2013


September 2013


August 2013


July 2013


June 2013


May 2013


April 2013


March 2013


February 2013


December 2012


November 2012


October 2012


September 2012


August 2012


July 2012


June 2012


May 2012


April 2012


March 2012


February 2012


January 2012


December 2011


November 2011


October 2011


September 2011


August 2011


July 2011


June 2011


May 2011


April 2011


March 2011


February 2011


January 2011


December 2010


November 2010


October 2010


September 2010


August 2010


July 2010


May 2010


April 2010


March 2010


February 2010


January 2010


December 2009


November 2009


October 2009


September 2009


August 2009


July 2009


June 2009


May 2009


April 2009


March 2009


February 2009


January 2009


December 2008


November 2008


October 2008


September 2008


August 2008


July 2008


June 2008


May 2008


April 2008


March 2008


February 2008


January 2008


December 2007


November 2007


October 2007


September 2007


August 2007


July 2007


June 2007


May 2007


April 2007


March 2007


February 2007


January 2007


December 2006


November 2006


October 2006


September 2006


August 2006


July 2006


June 2006


May 2006


April 2006


March 2006


February 2006


January 2006


December 2005


November 2005


October 2005


September 2005


August 2005


July 2005


June 2005


May 2005


April 2005


March 2005


February 2005


January 2005


December 2004


November 2004


October 2004


September 2004


August 2004


July 2004


June 2004


May 2004


April 2004


March 2004


February 2004


January 2004


December 2003


November 2003


October 2003


September 2003


August 2003